License Types

The license descriptions below are complied from various sources, including VA ABC regulations.


On-Premises
An on-premises retail license allows for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises of the establishment. Mixed beverages can only be approved for on-premises.

Beer
Beer may be sold and served only in the dining rooms and designated rooms specially approved by Virginia ABC on the premises for each type of business.
For restaurant, hotel, tax-exempt private club, food concessions at coliseum and stadium, resort complex.

Wine and Beer
Wine and beer may be sold and served only in dining rooms and designated rooms specially approved by Virginia ABC on the premises for each type of business.
For restaurant, hotel, hotel-limited service, tax-exempt private club, food concessions at coliseum and stadium, resort complex, and hospital.

Mixed Beverage
Mixed beverages may be sold and served only in the dining rooms and designated rooms specially approved by Virginia ABC on the premises for each type of business. 

Club
If the mixed beverage license was issued to a "club" with a restaurant located on the premises of and operated by the club, mixed beverages may be sold and served in the dining rooms and designated rooms of the restaurant portion and in other rooms on the premises, including private guest rooms.
A club located on the premises of a hotel or motel may purchase its required meals from a restaurant in the hotel or motel for service in the club's restaurant provided the club and its restaurant qualify for its mixed beverage license in all other respects. A Mixed Beverage License may be issued to any restaurant which is located on the premises of and operated by a private club exclusively for its members and their guests and which does not restrict its membership on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin or sex, even though the locality has not held a local referendum authorizing the sale of mixed beverages in the locality.

Hotel
If the mixed beverage license was issued for a "hotel," including a "motel," with a restaurant located on the premises and operated by the hotel, mixed beverages may be sold and served in the dining rooms and designated rooms of the restaurant and in the bedrooms and other private rooms of the hotel. The hotel must consist of not less than four permanent bedrooms where food and beverage service is customarily provided in bedrooms and other private rooms of such hotel or motel. Further, original closed containers of spirits may be sold only to registered guests and at scheduled functions, and deliveries may be made in their bedrooms or to the sponsoring group in the private room of such a function for consumption in such rooms.
"Miniatures" may be sold by retail establishments licensed as hotels, or restaurants upon the premises of hotels, to sell mixed beverages. Such licensees may sell miniatures only for consumption in bedrooms and in private rooms during a scheduled private function. A miniature is a bottle containing 50 milliliters of distilled spirits.

Resort Complex
If the mixed beverage license was issued for a "resort complex," mixed beverages may be sold and served in all areas within the resort complex. Nothing shall prohibit any person from keeping and consuming lawfully acquired spirits in bedrooms or private rooms.

Restaurant
If the mixed beverage license was issued for a "restaurant," mixed beverages may be sold and served only in dining rooms and designated rooms specially approved by the Board on the premises, including dining rooms while in use for private meetings and private parties. (For restaurants located in hotels, please refer to the "hotel" classification, above.)

Mixed Beverage, Limited
Allows use of dessert wines and no more than six varieties of liqueurs. Please note: Wine and beer on-premises privileges are required to apply for a limited mixed beverage on-premises license. Both privileges may be applied for simultaneously.

Caterer, Mixed Beverage
Includes wine, beer and mixed beverage privileges.
A "mixed beverage" means a spirits drink composed in whole or in part of alcoholic beverages containing more than 14 percent alcohol by volume.

If the mixed beverage license was issued for a caterer, mixed beverages may be sold and served, for on-premise consumption, to persons attending private gatherings or at special events.

If the mixed beverage caterer's license was issued pursuant to COV 4.1-210.A (2), the following applies:
An established place of business with catering gross sales averaging at least $4,000 per month which has complied with the requirements of the local governing body concerning sanitation, health, construction or equipment and which has obtained all local permits or licenses required to conduct such a catering business.
The caterer shall notify Virginia ABC in writing at least two calendar days in advance of any events to be catered under his license for the following month. The notice shall include the date, time, location and address of the event and the name of the sponsoring person, group, corporation or association.
The records required to be kept by ß90 of 3 VAC-5-70 shall also be maintained by caterers.
The annual gross receipts from the sale of food cooked and prepared for service at gatherings and events and the sale of nonalcoholic beverages served there shall amount to at least 45 percent of the gross receipts from the sale of mixed beverages and food.

Caterer Limited, Mixed Beverage
Includes wine, beer and mixed beverage privileges and is limited to twelve events per year.
A "mixed beverage" means a spirits drink composed in whole or in part of alcoholic beverages containing more than 14 percent alcohol by volume.

If the mixed beverage license was issued for a caterer, mixed beverages may be sold and served, for on-premise consumption, to persons attending private gatherings or at special events.

If the mixed beverage caterer's license was issued pursuant to COV 4.1-210.A (2), the following applies:
An established place of business with catering gross sales averaging at least $4,000 per month which has complied with the requirements of the local governing body concerning sanitation, health, construction or equipment and which has obtained all local permits or licenses required to conduct such a catering business.
The caterer shall notify Virginia ABC in writing at least two calendar days in advance of any events to be catered under his license for the following month. The notice shall include the date, time, location and address of the event and the name of the sponsoring person, group, corporation or association.
The records required to be kept by ß90 of 3 VAC-5-70 shall also be maintained by caterers.
The annual gross receipts from the sale of food cooked and prepared for service at gatherings and events and the sale of nonalcoholic beverages served there shall amount to at least 45 percent of the gross receipts from the sale of mixed beverages and food.

Combined Restaurant/Caterer, Mixed Beverage
Please note: Wine and beer on-premises privileges are required to apply for a mixed beverage on-premises license. Both privileges may be applied for simultaneously. View more information.

For the restaurant portion, mixed beverages may be sold and served only in the dining rooms and designated rooms specially approved by Virginia ABC on the premises for each type of business. For the caterer portion, includes wine, beer and mixed beverage privileges.

A "mixed beverage" means a spirits drink composed in whole or in part of alcoholic beverages containing more than 14 percent alcohol by volume.

A combined mixed beverage restaurant/caterer license may be granted to any restaurant or hotel that meets the qualifications for both a mixed beverage restaurant and a mixed beverage caterer for the same business location.

The license authorizes the licensee to operate in both capacities at the same business premises designated in the license with a common alcoholic beverage inventory for purposes of the restaurant and catering operations. The licensee must meet the separate food qualifications established for the mixed beverage restaurant license, pursuant to COV 4.1-210.A (1), and mixed beverage caterer license, pursuant to COV 4.1-210.A (2); separate Mixed Beverage Annual Review (MBAR) reports for the restaurant and caterer must be prepared yearly as required.  For this combination license, online submission of the MBAR reports is not allowed.



Off-Premises
An off-premises retail license requires alcoholic beverages to be taken off of the premises of the establishment after purchase.

Beer Off-Premises
Beer that is sold must be taken off the premises of the establishment.

For grocery store, delicatessen, drugstore, and marina store.

Wine and Beer Off-Premises
Wine and beer that is sold must be taken off the premises of the establishment. Keg privileges and delivery permit can be added for an additional fee.

For grocery store, convenience grocery store, delicatessen, drugstore, gift shop, gourmet shop.


On- and Off-Premises
An on- and off-premises retail license allows for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises of the establishment as well as authorizes the sale of beer in closed containers for off-premises consumption.

Beer On- and Off-Premises
Beer may be sold and served only in dining rooms and designated rooms specially approved by Virginia ABC on the premises for each type of business. Keg privileges and a delivery permit may be added.

For a restaurant, hotel, tax-exempt private club, grocery store. Grocery stores only in rural areas. Must be substantial public demand for public convenience.

Wine and Beer On- and Off-Premises
Wine and beer may be sold and served only in dining rooms and designated rooms specially approved by Virginia ABC on the premises for each type of business. Keg privileges and a delivery permit may be added.

For a restaurant, hotel, tax-exempt private club.

Specialized
Specialized retail licenses authorize a variety of privileges for particular businesses, ranging from day spas to meal assembly kitchens.

Amphitheater, Annual
Mixed beverages. Seating and geographic restrictions apply.
Food concession at outdoor performing arts facility
 
Art Instruction Studio
Wine and beer on premises.
Commercial establishment providing all required supplies and instruction in creating a work of art during a studio instructional session
 
Arts Venue Event, Annual
Wine and beer on premises. Limited to 12 calendar days per year.
Arts venue, community art walk
 
Banquet, Annual
Wine and beer on premises.
Private nonprofit fraternal, patriotic, charitable membership organization
 
Banquet, Annual
Mixed beverages on premises.
Private nonprofit fraternal, patriotic, charitable membership organization.
 
Banquet Facility
Wine, beer and mixed beverages. No sales.

Volunteer fire department, volunteer rescue squad.
 
Bed and Breakfast
Wine, beer and mixed beverages to overnight lodgers for on-premises consumption.
Bed and breakfast establishments
 
Canal Boat Operator
Wine, beer and mixed beverages. No sales. Geographic restrictions apply.
Nonprofit organization operating tourism canal boats

Carrier
Carriers undertaking to transport passengers for the general public for compensation.
 
Day Spa
Wine and beer on premises.
Commercial establishments offering both massage therapy and barbering or cosmetology services.
 
Equine Sporting Event
Wine, beer and mixed beverages: for organization holding equestrian events. Shall not sell or charge for alcoholic beverages.
Organizations holding equestrian, hunt and steeplechase events
 
Gourmet Oyster House
Wine and beer on and off premises. Keg privileges can be added for an additional fee.
Commercial marina permitted to serve oysters/fresh seafood on premises.

Meal Assembly Kitchen
Wine and beer on premises.
Commercial establishment offering ingredients for the preparation of meals

Motor Car Sporting Event Facility
Wine, beer and mixed beverages. Shall not sell or charge for alcoholic beverages.
Licensed premises regularly occupied and utilized for motor car sporting events

Motor Sports Facility, Annual
Mixed beverages on premises.
Food concession at outdoor motor sports facility hosting NASCAR national touring race.

Motor Sports Race Track, Annual
Mixed beverages on premises. Geographic restrictions apply.
Food concession at outdoor road racing facility
 
Museum
Wine, beer and mixed beverages. Shall not sell or charge for alcoholic beverages.
Tax-exempt museum
 
Performing Arts Facility, Annual
Mixed beverages.
Corporation or association owned by government entity

Shipper, Beer
The sale and shipment into or within the Commonwealth of no more than two cases of beer per month to any person in the Commonwealth to whom alcoholic beverages may be lawfully sold for personal consumption and not for resale. View restrictions and additional information.
Brewery, off premises retail business.
 
Shipper, Wine
The sale and shipment into or within the Commonwealth of no more than two cases of wine per month to any person in the Commonwealth to whom alcoholic beverages may be lawfully sold for personal consumption and not for resale. View restrictions and additional information.
Winery, farm winery, off-premises retail business.
 
Shipper, Wine and Beer
The sale and shipment into or within the Commonwealth of no more than two cases of wine or two cases of beer per month to any person in the Commonwealth to whom alcoholic beverages may be lawfully sold for personal consumption and not for resale. View restrictions and additional information.
Winery, farm winery, brewery, off-premises retail business.
 
Special Event, Annual
Wine, beer and mixed beverages.
Performing arts facility, fairground, agricultural event, art education and exhibition facility

Beer Industry
These licenses relate to beer and its manufacture, bottling, and delivery, including licenses pertaining to breweries.

Beer Bottler
Beer Importer
Beer Shipper
For brewery, off-premise retail business.

Shipper's License
Virginia ABC is authorized to issue a shipper's license to persons licensed in their state of domicile as: winery, farm winery, brewery, or persons authorized to sell wine and beer at retail for off-premise consumption.
Privileges
The sale and shipment into or within the Commonwealth of no more than two cases of wine or two cases of beer per month to any person in the Commonwealth  to whom alcoholic beverages may lawfully sold for personal consumption and not for resale.

A case of wine is defined as any combination of packages containing not more than nine liters of wine. A case of beer is defined as any combination of packages containing not more than 288 ounces of beer.

Beer Wholesaler

Brewery License

Brewery, Limited

Brewery, Retail Off-Premises
Prerequisite: Brewery license.

Brewery, Retail Off-Premises Limited
Prerequisite: Brewery license

Wine and Cider Industry
These licenses relate to wine and its manufacture, wholesale, and delivery, including licenses pertaining to farm wineries.

Farm Wineries
Farm winery license authorize the licensee to manufacture wine containing 21 percent or less of alcohol by volume and to sell, deliver or ship the wine, in accordance with Virginia ABC, wholesalers resale or persons outside the Commonwealth.

Such licenses shall also authorize the licensee to sell wine at retail at the places of business designated in the licenses, which may include no more than five additional retail establishments for the licensee. Wine may be sold at these business places for on-premises consumption. In addition, wine may be premixed by the licensee to be served and sold for on-premises consumption at these business places.

Farm Winery - Class A
Class A farm winery licensees, at least 51 percent of the fresh fruits or agricultural products use by the owner or lessee to manufacture the wine shall be grown or produced on such farm and no more than 25 percent of the fruits, fruit juices or other agricultural products shall be grown or produced outside the Commonwealth.

Farm Winery - Class B
For Class B farm winery licensees, 75 percent fo the fresh fruit or agricultural products used by the owner or lessee to manufacture the wine shall be grown or produced int he Commonwealth and no more than 25 percent fo the fruits, fruit juices or other agricultural products shall be grown or produced outside the Commonwealth. No Class B farm winery license shall be issued to any person who has not operated under an existing Virginia farm winery license for at least seven years.

Fruit Distiller

Internet Wine Retailer
Allows persons who own an establishment with adequate inventory, shelving, and storage facilities, but is not a retail store open to the public, to take orders for wine via internet or telephone, and ship the wine directly to customers.

Wine and Beer Shipper
Winery, farm winery, brewery, off-premises retail business.
Virginia ABC is authorized to issue a shipper's license to persons licensed in their state of domicile as: winery, farm winery, brewery, or persons authorized to sell wine and beer at retail for off-premise consumption.

The sale and shipment into or within the Commonwealth of no more than two cases of wine or two cases of beer per month to any person in the Commonwealth  to whom alcoholic beverages may lawfully sold for personal consumption and not for resale.
A case of wine is defined as any combination of packages containing not more than nine liters of wine. A case of beer is defined as any combination of packages containing not more than 288 ounces of beer.

Wine Importer

Wine Shipper
Winery, farm winery, off-premises retail business.
Virginia ABC is authorized to issue a shipper's license to persons licensed in their state of domicile as: winery, farm winery, brewery, or persons authorized to sell wine and beer at retail for off-premise consumption.

The sale and shipment into or within the Commonwealth of no more than two cases of wine or two cases of beer per month to any person in the Commonwealth  to whom alcoholic beverages may lawfully sold for personal consumption and not for resale.
A case of wine is defined as any combination of packages containing not more than nine liters of wine. A case of beer is defined as any combination of packages containing not more than 288 ounces of beer.

Wine Wholesaler

Winery, Retail Off-Premises
Prerequisite: Winery license

Distilleries
This license relates to distilled spirits and their manufacturer, wholesale, and delivery, both to Virginia ABC for sale within the Commonwealth and to persons outside the Commonwealth for resale outside the Commonwealth.



Other licenses

Fulfillment Warehouse
Receives, stores, packs, and ships wine and beer orders for holders fo shipper's licenses.

Gourmet Brewing Shop
An establishment that sells ingredients for making wine and brewing beer (including packaging) and rents facilities for manufacturing, fermenting and bottling such wine or beer.

Marketing Portal
Agricultural cooperative associations solicit and receieve wine and beer orders via the internet.